L.J. Bryant, a candidate for land commissioner, calls attention to a campaign theme of another candidate for the office, state Rep. Monty Davenport. Davenport has been quoted as saying (and also here) that he doesn’t favor being on the “cutting edge” of innovation in the office, but on the “trailing edge” by adopting practices perfected in other states. He says he wants to be sure new technology works before he buys it.

(Working for a low-cost news operation,I understand the attraction in being a late adopter of new technology.) Bryant sees the land commissioner’s office differently and he’s been pushing use of satellite mapping to enhance marketing of tax-delinquent land. In a note to me, he wrote:

Obviously, I couldn’t disagree more vehemently with Mr. Davenport’s opinion.  I cannot imagine our Governor or any other constitutional officer wanting Arkansas to be on the “trailing edge” of utilizing the most advanced technology available to keep up with important state records and data.  Furthermore, Mr. Davenport’s idea of waiting around to see what neighboring states might be doing, shows that he has no plan at all for the office of Land Commissioner and is up to the task of keeping Arkansas ranked 49th or 50th in so many categories. 
Max, short of being labeled a negative campaigner, how in this world do the people of our state learn about this type of backward thinking?

An issue in the land commissioner’s race? THAT is cutting edge.


UPDATE: Davenport issues a statement that he supports technological advances, but wants to spend wisely.